Coffee and I do not go a long way back.
I must have had my first cup of instant coffee at a friend’s home in 1999-2000, when I was erm…not even a teenager. To me, it tasted like a regular malt drink mix like Cadbury’s Bournvita or Boost only a little less on the sweet quotient. It was frothy, milky and back then, I did not share the imaginary lactose intolerance. That is how, I found coffee or rather coffee found me.
The second, third and consecutive cups I have no memories of. All that I know and remember is that when I was in grade 9, I had a lot of study pressure. To score the best marks, to be ahead of everyone in the class in every subject. That is when I took to coffee seriously.
We have instant coffee variants here in India, which are easy to get from local shops and easier to make. So, we would get packets of Sunrise, Nescafe and later on, Bru. I would sit and do my homework or study for the toughest tests sipping my way to the bottom of the cup. To be honest, it was mom who made the coffee for me. I couldn’t even boil water to save my life back then.
Grade 10-12, I was a certified coffee drinker. When asked for my choice of beverage at people’s homes, I would always raise my hands for a cup of coffee. It was coffee or nothing. I also developed a liking for a particular brand of coffee – Bru. It was milder, yummier and nothing tasted better than a hot steaming cup of Bru coffee right on my study table. I would often drink coffee with my favourite Tomato grilled sandwich.
However, I was not addicted to the drink. It just refreshed me, gave me energy to sustain the tough level of studies. Since I had a full on acrimonious relationship with milk, my coffee would be less milk and more water. I also had this method of preparing instant coffee – beat the sugar, coffee and little milk to a creamy paste and then pouring the piping hot mix of milk and water right into it. It formed a beautiful color and froth at the surface of the cup, which I looked at in awe every single time.
My tryst with coffee continued for a better part of my college life as well. I would drink it to stay awake for my project work and for my exams. I didn’t drink it in the mornings though, being a Breakfast Skipper. I needed my cuppa at night. Coffee also kept me company when I went through pages of my books.
It was college, time on hand and friends, which led me to Cafe culture, which was blooming in India and in my town. I was introduced to Capuccino, Mocha, Late, Frappe and the likes. But what really did impact me was cold coffee. I would love to have it day in and night out. I learnt how to make it at home and the hot coffee cup was now, only for winters or rainy days. I had met my soulmate in the cold version of coffee.
Quick fact: I also love every possible coffee flavored ice cream. Om nom nom.
Today, there are a lot of cafes that serve lovely coffee of my choice. These are the places where I have held many a meeting for work and hanged out with friends. Yes, they are bit overpriced. But then, you get to loiter around in the cafes for as many hours as you want, with the price of one cup or maybe two.
Also, I went to Chennai last year and for the first time in life, I was in a place that had more coffee drinkers than tea. I happily had their very famous Filter Kaapi served piping hot in stainless steel tumblers. I wish the culture finds its way to Western part of India too, where I reside.
Recently, I have taken a liking to iced tea. Still, it is coffee that creates magic in my life. ❤